Article | Last updated: 14/12/2014 | Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
The Nationality Act and Nationality Regulations contain rules on how persons can become Norwegian nationals and how they may lose their Norwegian nationality.
Nationality can be regarded as a formalisation of the social contract that exists between the state and a citizen.
Right to Norwegian nationality
Immigrants are entitled to Norwegian nationality following an application or notification provided all the conditions in the Act have been met.
Norwegian nationality following an application
Most immigrants who want to become Norwegian nationals must apply for this. At the time when the application is decided on, the applicant must:
- have clarified his/her identity
- be over 12 years of age
- be and intend to remain in Norway
- have, or fulfil the conditions for, a permanent residence permit pursuant to the Immigration Act
- have stayed in the country for at least seven of the past 10 years
- meet the requirements for participation in a Norwegian-language course
- not have been punished or subjected to any other reaction for a criminal offence, or if this is the case, the applicant must have waited until the waiting period is over
- have been released from any other nationality. Exemptions from this requirement may be granted in certain cases.
Exemptions from one or more of the main conditions are granted to a number of applicant groups.
Norwegian nationality through notification
Nordic citizens may become Norwegian nationals through notification. This is a simpler process and the person becomes a Norwegian national on the date when the notification is received by the police provided the conditions for the notification have been met.
Norwegian nationality through birth or adoption
Anyone born after 1 September 2006 is automatically granted Norwegian nationality if his/her mother or father is Norwegian. Persons who are adopted by a Norwegian national are also automatically granted Norwegian nationality provided the statutory conditions are met.
Loss of Norwegian nationality
Norwegian nationals who voluntarily become nationals of another country automatically lose their Norwegian nationality. The same applies to Norwegian nationals who have not lived in Norway for a total of two years before their 22nd birthday. However, these persons may apply to retain their Norwegian nationality. Norwegian nationals may be released from their nationality following an application.
Applications and notifications for Norwegian nationality are to be submitted to the Norwegian police or a Norwegian foreign mission. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration is the first body to deal with the case. If the application/notification is refused, this decision can be appealed against to the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board (UNE). The Ministry does not deal with individual cases.
All those who are granted Norwegian nationality and are 12 years old or more are invited to take part in a ceremony. The citizenship ceremonies are intended to be a solemn and dignified event to mark the transition to Norwegian nationality. They are held in each county once or twice a year and are organised by the county governors.
During the ceremony, participants over the age of 18 years will make an oath of allegiance. This oath was determined by the King in Council on 16 June 2006 and is as follows:
"As a Norwegian national, I pledge loyalty to my country Norway and to Norwegian society, I support democracy and human rights and I will respect the laws of the country."